Will You Be Mine? A Nursery Rhyme Romance
Compiled and illustrated by: Phyllis Limbacher Tildes
Who’s your valentine?
In this charming story told through Mother Goose rhymes, a dapper cat and a demure dog meet, fall in love, wed, and honeymoon to London to meet the queen. Using well-known rhymes such as “Hickory Dickory Dock,” and less familiar ones such as “Pretty John Watts,/ We are troubled with rats,” Phyllis Limbacher Tildes describes the world in which these romantic leads live. Various rhymes illustrate how the whole town gets involved: one little piggy goes to market to buy the food, six little mice weave coats for the gentlemen, and the whole town dances by the light of the moon in a post-ceremony celebration.
Tildes’s brightly colored illustrations bring this nursery-rhyme world to life, and the timelessness of these Mother Goose rhymes will appeal to readers young and old. A lovely story of romance and happiness, this book is a great choice for Valentine’s Day.
Look Inside the Book:
Author & Illustrator Bios:Phyllis Limbacher Tildes, author and illustrator
Phyllis Limbacher Tildes is the author and illustrator of many children's books, including Animals Black and White, Eye Guess, and Will You Be Mine?
Read more about Phyllis.
This colorful picture book arranges 18 Mother Goose rhymes in a sequence that creates a narrative. Unfolding in the countryside, the story features animal characters dressed in old-fashioned clothes. On his way to work in the fields, a cat falls in love with a poodle with a basket of flowers. He proposes, she accepts, and various animals scurry about, preparing for the wedding feast. After the marriage, the newlyweds visit the queen in London. The book ends with the traditional rhyme, “There was an old crow / Sat upon a clod; / That’s the end of my song— / That’s odd.” Like the other rhymes, it’s open to visual interpretation and, as illustrator, Tildes makes imaginative use of that. While the gouache paintings look a bit bland, they are easy for young children to “read,” and the occasional elements of drama and humor are welcome. The moonlit scenes are also particularly effective. A nice introduction to English nursery rhymes. —Carolyn Phelan
Nursery rhymes provide the text for an animal romance. “Hickory, dickory dock,” it begins; in this version, it’s not a grandfather clock but an alarm clock that the mouse is running down, and it wakes up the farmer cat, asleep in his bed. More rhymes, familiar and less so, spawn stories on the busy farm. While a dog, cat and pig—all attired in country dresses and bonnets—gather hay, the farmer cat begins a flirtation by tipping his hat to a pretty female poodle. And while “This little piggy went to market,” poodle and cat prepare to marry. The mice make wedding garments; after the ceremony, the bride leads a procession that begins with “Ride a cock-horse to Banbury Cross.” At the reception: “I danced with the girl with a hole in her stocking.” Tilde’s rhyme selection is occasionally forced, but her illustrations are bold and bright, and the friendly animals are dead ringers for those in classic Mother Goose books. A pleasant spin on tradition.
School Library Journal
Tildes has compiled and illustrated 18 traditional nursery rhymes that trace an 18th-century courtship to honeymoon of a farmer tabby cat and his long-lashed poodle love. The pastoral scenes of preparation for the nuptials include mice tailors, a piggy florist, and a hedgehog minister. Gouache paintings in pastel colors accompany favorites like "Hickory, Dickory, Dock" and less-familiar poems such as "Pretty John Watts." The pictures have an abundance of adorable baby ducks and females in bonnets. There are two rhymes that seem tacked on as the last spread shows a visit with the Queen in London, and the story wraps up with a crow reading to a trio of mice children, "There was an old crow/Sat upon a clod;/That's the end of my song-/That's odd." Overall, though, this picture book offers nursery rhymes in a fresh way. –Gay Lynn Van Vleck, Henrico County Library, Glen Allen, VA
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Page count: 32
9 1/2 x 10 1/2